The teachers in my life

Sundaram Iyer

Sundaram Iyer, popularly known as Sunny, resigned from the Department of Customs and Excise as Superintendent to pursue his dreams in distant shores. Although he now has many new friends he still hangs on to his old ones.

I am nearing a golden century with regard to my age, but feel that I have lived life many times over. I would be one of the people (not uncommon) who is a South Indian, but never lived in the South, born in Gujarat (but unfortunately is not a Gujarati), did the main part of his schooling in New Delhi (from which he built his persona), and returned back to Gujarat after completion of his schooling to join St. Xavier's College, Ahmedabad.

To say life treated me fairly would be a misnomer. Life in general does not treat anyone fairly, which is one of the lessons easily learned by the old school method of "the belt and the ruler" by teachers and grown ups who have played an important part of my life, and I am so thankful for that style and method of teaching, because, it showed that they cared.

My main part of schooling I would say, started from the 6th grade to the 12th, for which I was in New Delhi and was enrolled in a South Indian school, which I would say, was totally geek in nature. It was known to produce scholars and toppers in the education field but, sorry to say, not in sports. Not that one had the audacity to question the reason for that. Suffice to say, school in those days was just learning and reading. Being naturally weak in math and science was not in anyway helpful either. It was the patience of my teachers, especially one I would vaguely remember as Mrs. Lakshmi, who was the math teacher. She was patient as well and impatient at the same time. Patient for two attempts and then impatient altogether. But this technique helped as one would try to learn within those two attempts.

My second teacher I remember well. Though I forget her name, she was my English teacher. Thanks to her style of teaching, I found myself yearning and reading books to expand my horizons. My size in my class was also a great source for the bullying that I would endure, which was another learning experience, that has helped me build myself in my character and behavior, as would have anyone else in those times. The bullying was relentless and crying was not an option, or you were done for! Those times and these incidents were also my teachers in my life for they helped me in practical situations, on how to deal with those. Due to all this bullying, my school life was totally devoted to reading and devouring books to get knowledge and learn about many things.

Mostly due to the encouragement of my English teacher, where I started reading with books from Enid Blyton, graduating on to Hardy Boys, even Nancy Drew and then going on from there. I would thank this teacher from the bottom of my heart for opening a new world to me — the one which I still cherish and read whenever time permits. I also got into seeing movies (only English ones at the time) which further improved my vocabulary and linguistic abilities in communication.

Cut to college, and I had to opportunity of seeing a great communicator of a teacher in Fr. Franco who used to teach Economics. Had the same course and curriculum since class 11th and 12th and in essence I was doing those two years all over again in my first and second year in college. The way Fr. France used to explain the theories of Demand and Supply and perfect competition and all other styles of economies was truly enlightening and fantastic, with the simple examples he used to throw out, and also make us subjects of his conversation while teaching! Absolutely fantastic. He was also a great athlete and would never flaunt his status while playing a game of basketball with us in the evening hours which is totally akin to the North American style of teaching, wherein the awe of hobnobbing with a teacher or mentor is nullified.

Sundaram (Sunny) Iyer attended St. Xaviers College, Ahmedabad.

All the teacher can do is guide you to whatever you want to achieve, you already having the spark within you. which is what my teachers did. Although I was aspiring to be good in whatever I do, I always would try and work within my abilities to come up to terms with whatever it is I would be facing, whether in the academia or the real life. Pretty soon found out that academia can only taking so far.

Then came the life lessons, the ones nobody prepares you for, for they just cannot. But the shape of your destiny has been molded by those great teachers who inspired you and to whom you communicate in your mind and imagine what he/ she would have said and then work towards that end.

In that effect, I would consider myself blessed, for possessing the acumen, not to be daunted by life's challenges, for my teacher would always say that I was tenacious and I would eventually overcome whatever obstacles are in my way — for I am persistent, and that is a result of constant encouragement which is the ultimate role and a goal of a teacher towards their students.

I am blessed to have the ones that saw potential and made me who I am right now. Not rich, not arrogant, nor subservient. but one who believes that he can overcome anything, if he puts his mind to it, and though circumstances too are a factor in any success, the one taking the plunge gets the reward. And thus, I have been rewarded multiple-fold so far.


Lovely narration

Somehow, people remember their English, Maths, and Science teachers - tough subjects I guess. We need someone to guide us at that time.

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